One Neat God Story...

One Neat God Story...

In this touching blog post by Mike Barko, an ordinary laundry day turns into an unexpected opportunity to share the gospel. Visiting the laundromat, Mike encounters the owner redirecting him due to maintenance. While leaving, he meets K.W. Wilfong, who invites him to lunch. The twist? The workers Mike initially wanted to engage were actually K.W. Wilfong's employees. During a buffet lunch, Mike seizes the moment to discuss the gospel with Lawrence, Tony, and Kenneth, facilitated by their connection to K.W. Wilfong. Tony, facing personal struggles, engages in a conversation about sin, forgiveness, and salvation. Through this God-orchestrated interaction, Tony embraces Christ's message and places his faith in Him. The blog post captures the beauty of divine timing and providence, highlighting the significance of spreading the gospel through cooperation. Mike concludes with gratitude for this unexpected encounter and its profound impact.


Mike Barko

1/21/20207 min read

One neat God story...

Monday is a rest / chore day for me. Yesterday, I headed to the laundromat with two huge loads...

The owner of the laundromat initially directed me away from my usual door of entrance. With the colder temperatures we were experiencing, an older and much younger man were busy replacing a large heater above the door.

After loading and starting my wash, I thought about the possibility of sharing the gospel with these two men. Two main problems: (1) they were focused on another task and (2) I did not want to steal time from their employer.

So, I headed out to my car to go back to my apartment. In the parking lot I ran into a man that I had recently met at our outreach while working with the Bethlehem Brethren Church as part of their annual Christmas Nativity Scene.


K. W. Wilfong is his name. We recognized each other, exchanged pleasantries, and then he invited me out to lunch. Even though I had a list of things that I needed to do, I felt like this was a 'God thing' so I agreed.

Turns out, the two workers were his employees! Before we left for lunch, I told Ken that I 'kind of wanted' to share the gospel with them.

"You can do it when we sit down to eat. They are coming to lunch with us."

Wow. God's hand was obviously all over this.

We met at the Village Inn and had the buffet. What a blessing. All you can eat and I get to share the gospel. Two 'after Christmas' gifts.

After praying a brief prayer and washing my hands in the bathroom, I approached the table. Lawrence (Grandfather), Tony (Grandson), and Kenneth were already seated at the table and waiting for me to join them.

As I sat down, Kenneth spoke up...

'Mike, would you bless the food for us?'

After praying, Kenneth introduced me...

'This is my friend Mike. Mike helped at our outreach over Christmas by passing out bracelets and sharing the gospel.'

If that is not a red carpet invitation, I don't know what is! There would be no struggle wondering when I would offer them a bracelet. The time was right now.

When the iron is hot, strike!

Immediately, I reached into my pocket for two bracelets and offered Lawrence and Kenneth one...

Lawrence spoke up first, 'You gave me and my wife one a long time ago at Walmart.'

Next was Tony, 'I got one too.' We both agreed it was probably in front of the courthouse.

"Well, would you guys like another one?"

Tony wanted one, but Lawrence declined. So, I figured this was the Spirit's way of directing me to talk to the grandson.

"Do you remember what any of the colors mean?"

Tony didn't. It had been a really long time. Kenneth told me in the truck on the way over that Tony had recently gotten into some serious trouble. In spite of this, Ken assured me that he was an excellent employee.

"The gold stands for Heaven. Do you remember the 'million dollar' question?"

He didn't.

"O-100, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven?"


"Wow. That's great, you're almost there, let me ask you this...

"How do you know that?"

'The Lord.'

"Great. What about the Lord gives you such confidence that you would get into Heaven?"

'He forgives.'

"Yes, He does. Now, here's one more question...

I looked at him with a smile and pointed...

"Why would He forgive you?"

There was a long pause. After a while, Tony spoke up...

'I really don't know why.'

"Well, let's go through these colors so you can know why God would forgive you. There is nothing more important than knowing this."

So, we talked about sin. Tony understood that he, just like me, was a liar, thief, adulterer, murderer, and blasphemer. He understood the penalty was hell and it was God's just punishment for his sin.

Key question...

Was there anything Tony could do in God's courtroom to avoid the electric chair with his name on it? (This answer tells us what the person is trusting in for his salvation.)

As expected, Tony said...

'I will ask forgiveness.'

So, I asked Tony if he had ever stood before a judge. We all laughed at his response...

'Which time?'

Tony admitted that one of the times he had been given a pretty severe fine...somewhere around $1000.

So, I asked him...

"If you said to the judge, 'Please forgive me', but you didn't pay the $1000 fine, what would the judge say?"

'Lock him up.'

Yes. I explained that God's fine wasn't $1000, but was instead, 'spiritual death'. How could that fine possibly be paid so that God's justice could be satisfied and He could forgive Tony?

Tony didn't have a clue. I decided to ask Clarence. He spoke up...

'You got to work for it!'

Clarence's spirit was different, and when he said this, it actually threw the whole conversation off track. He was 'hard of hearing', so that might have had something to do with it. Tony said a few things and so did Kenneth. I waited for the Spirit to bring it back around to me. I now knew why I wasn't supposed to focus the conversation on Clarence.

I waited for everyone to stop talking and then I resumed my conversation with Tony...

"Are you the Savior?"


"Who is?"


"Can you save yourself?"


"If you think you can save yourself, then who is your savior?"


"Can you save yourself?"


(Okay, we'll do it again...)

"If you think you can save yourself, then who is your savior?"


'Can you save yourself?"


Bingo! I got excited and spoke up...

"Right! As long as you think you can save yourself, then God can't save you. He is waiting for you to come to an end of yourself. Stop trusting yourself, and only trust Him!"

"What did God do for you so He could save you?"

Tony understood that Jesus had died for him. I explained that Jesus was God incarnate in human flesh...God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

God had already paid Tony's fine of 'spiritual death'. When He rose from the grave, He had given Tony a special receipt...'Paid-in-full'.

I explained that if Tony would place all of his trust in Christ, then God would save him on that basis alone. If he tried to justify himself, God could not justify him.

So, I asked him...

"If you put all of your trust in Him, then how sure would you be that you would go to Heaven?"



'He died for me.'

"If you trust yourself, what happens?"

'You fail.'

"And where do you end up?"


I then explained that if we trust in both Christ and ourselves, we still don't make it. We must put all of our trust in Christ alone. This is what the bible means by the word...'believe'.

"So, when we started, who were you trusting?"


"Would you like to transfer your trust from yourself, and only trust in God as your Savior?" (Tony was shaking his head in agreement as I was asking this question, even before I finished asking.)

We prayed. Tony said that God had saved him.

Tony understood that God had taken his place in the electric chair. Having understood that, he said his heart felt...'thankful'.

I explained...

"With that thankful heart, live for Him. Love Him. Serve Him. Go to church. Read your bible. None of those things save you. Only He does. But, if you are really saved, then you should do these things."

Then I shared John 6:47...

"Whoever believes in Me has eternal life."

Tony understood that Jesus said that, and that Jesus does not lie. Tony said that he did believe.

So I asked him...

"So, what do you have?"

'Eternal life.'

"When do you have it?"

'When you believe.'

"When did you believe?"

'Just a moment ago.'

"So, what do you have right now?"

'Eternal life'.

"How sure?"


"All because of?..."

With a big smile Tony said...


We all laughed again. Kenneth paid the lunch bill, not only for me, but for his two employees. He asked me...

"Do you know why I do this?"

I tried to be funny...

'Because you're hoping I'll buy next time?' (That would be vain hope, wouldn't it?)

Unfazed, Kenneth replied...

'Because God blesses me seven-fold.'

I believed it. Kenneth had blessed me with a great lunch and humbly allowed me to control the entire conversation with my agenda. Our cooperation in ministering to Tony reminded me of two scripture verses...

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." (1 Cor. 3:6-8)


"And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours." (John 4:36-38)

The Lord obviously orchestrated this entire situation. Kenneth initiated it, and carried the whole thing through.

I was just along for the ride.


(Kenneth runs a small business called K.W. Wilfong Maintenance & Repair. If you need some quality work done at a reasonable price, send me an email and I will send you his phone number. God bless Kenneth for his obedience and faith in a very special way...Amen.)